The NFL Rank ‘Em Up: #8-5 QBs

June 29, 2011 at 7:52 pm (Sports) (, , , , , , )

The next four quarterbacks are the most practical on this list.  Most of them can be picked up in the 4th-6th round (except for Vick, he’ll be gone by the mid-2nd).  By then, you should be able to pick up one or more running backs and wide receivers, and maybe even an elite tight end.

Matt Ryan is eighth on my list, partially due to the presence of Julio Jones.  Matty Ice managed to give Roddy White the best season of his career, despite the fact that they had no other receiver of any relevance other than Tony Gonzalez, meaning that White was constantly double teamed.  That probably won’t happen this year, now that the Falcons have a legitimate #2 receiver.  And Atlanta wouldn’t have traded away the farm to get Jones if they didn’t plan on riding him all the way to the Super Bowl.  Ryan’s yardage totals weren’t the stuff of legends last season, with 11 games with fewer than 250 yards, but that’s another problem that Jones was brought in to fix.  Other than that, he’s a beast in the Georgia Dome, and he simply doesn’t throw interceptions (his career high is 14 in ‘09).  Target him with confidence in the 5th or 6th.

Tony Romo is looking to make a comeback this season.  And he has me convinced enough to put him seventh on the REU.  I firmly believe that the Cowboys’ problems last season centered on Wade Phillips.  Once he left Big D, and replaced by Jason Garrett, the Cowboys hit their stride with backup QB and Michael Chiklis impersonator Jon Kitna at the helm.  With Romo coming back from injury, you can expect increased output from Miles Austin, Dez Bryant, and Jason Witten.  And the Cowboys should be able to return to playoff contention.

Anybody who knows me knows I hate Michael Vick.  A lot.  But, even looking at Vick professionally, I still can’t put Vick any higher than sixth.  People are already trying to etch Vick’s name onto the MVP trophy, and I like to call those people “moronic”.  Even before his days in the penitentiary, he was an injury risk, and now, not only is Vick five years older than he was as a Falcon, but it seems like he’s actually running more than he was five years ago.  I hear people say that Vick could set records this season.  Maybe, but just try to convince me that Vick will make it to the end of the season, without a massive overhaul to his style.  If Vick somehow falls to the fourth round, he would be a good pick, but that won’t happen because some massive genius will nab him inside the first 15 picks.  It’s safe to say that Vick will be the biggest risk/reward of the season.  If he does well, he will break a few records.  But if he doesn’t (and he probably won’t), he’ll disappoint a lot of people, myself not included.

Enough negativism, let’s talk about Philip Rivers.  I think that Rivers could be a pretty good sleeper for MVP this season.  Especially, if he can stick with a good receiver for more than five minutes.  Young Man Rivers was able to squeeze a 213 yard performance out of Malcom Floyd against Nnamdi Asoughma, which is simply unprecedented.  He also got Seyi Ajirotutu to go for 4-111-2 against Houston, a 117 yard game from Patrick Crayton versus St. Louis, a 5-110-1 game against the Chiefs for Legadu Naanee, and a multi-touchdown game for Randy McMichael.  Oh yeah, and he also has Antonio Gates and Vincent Jackson.  Rivers will be a steal if you can get him in the fourth.

In the next part, we’re going to take a break from the backward counting to list the quarterbacks that just missed the list.

Permalink Leave a Comment

The NFL Rank ‘Em Up: #12-9 QBs

June 25, 2011 at 6:00 pm (Sports) (, , , , , )

Some quarterbacks walk the tightrope between being a low-end QB1 and a high-end QB2.  Don’t get me wrong:  you can draft the guy ranked 12th as your starter, or the guy ranked ninth as your backup, and no one will give you any grief.  At least I won’t, I can’t vouch for your opponents.

Eli Manning is 12th on this list.  Ranking Manning is kind of difficult, because, like Jay Cutler, his value depends on the point system of your league, because both quarterbacks are extremely high risk/high reward.  If your league deducts only one or two points for interceptions, go nuts on both Eli and Jay, they will serve you well this season.  But, if your league deducts four, five, or six points for an interception, Manning and Cutler will probably both rank outside the top 15 for quarterbacks in your league.  Check your league settings before making a decision on either quarterback, but Manning in particular.  I have him down for throwing 30+ touchdowns and 20+ interceptions again this season.

The Jew-fro is alive and well with Josh Freeman.

My new favorite quarterback, Josh Freeman, is right outside my top ten in 11th.  Freeman has the awesome ability to win games he has no business winning.  His connection with Mike Williams is quickly becoming one of the most feared in the NFL.  And he’s also been working well with tight end Kellen Winslow and the winner of the annual “NickyV presents The Where-The-Hell-Did-He-Come-From Award”, LeGarrette Blount.  I also think that Arrelious Benn could be an extremely deep sleeper this season.  Expect Freeman to be an elite talent in a few short seasons.

Does Matt Schaub have to cut a bitch?

Matt Schaub has become a bit of a forgotten man in the QB ranks.  People always think about Arian Foster and Andre Johnson in the Houston offense, but someone needs to hold this team together, and Schaub is that guy.  He’s stayed healthy for the last two seasons, and has thrown for over 4,300 yards both years.  He still does carry a bit of an “injury warning” on him; drop it.  The two times he was injured in 2007 and 2008 were freak accidents.  He should be fine for this season.

Well, look who bounced back from that sexual assault charge like a champ.  Ben Roethlisberger is ninth here, and this could very easily be his best season to date.  Mike Wallace has become one of the fastest receivers in the game.  He’s a down field threat who can score on any reception.  Hines Ward might be getting older, but he’s still one of the most physical receivers.  Rashard Mendenhall is now a first-round worthy pickup in any draft this season.  And look for Emmanuel Sanders to potentially jump into the #2 role once Hines Ward retires.  One thing I noticed about the Steelers is that they don’t really have a slot, reception-heavy receiver (ala Wes Welker, Davone Bess, Danny Amendola).  Hines Ward was filling that role somewhat, but I don’t think that’s his primary job any more, both Wallace and Sanders are big play receivers, and Mendenhall isn’t a huge part of the passing game.  Might be something that the Steelers look into in next year’s draft.

In the next article, we take about solid starter who will be available in the later rounds, so that you can focus on the other positions early in the draft.

Permalink Leave a Comment

The NFL Rank ‘Em Up: 16-13 QBs

June 22, 2011 at 6:00 pm (Sports) (, , , , , , )

Superstars are great, but I love sleepers.  I love the diamonds in the rough.  I love being able to pick a nobody, and by season’s end, you have a star on your hands.  Yes, I’d love to have Chris Johnson at 3rd overall, but given the choice between him and someone who could turn into a fantasy legend this year like LeSean McCoy at 8th overall, I’ll take McCoy.  All four quarterbacks here can be considered sleepers with low-end QB1 potential or at the very least, are high-end QB2’s.

Matthew Stafford cracks the top half of the list at #16.  He has shown flashes of excellence, and the talent around him is superb.  Shaun Hill wouldn’t have been a top 15 quarterback last year otherwise.  His only problem is staying healthy.  He only started in three games last season, but he had seven total touchdowns and one interception.  I’ve said it before, but I think that the Lions will make the playoffs by next season.  If he can play, he’ll do great things for the Lions.

The former Heisman winner added a Rookie of the Year award to his collection. Next on his list is a few playoff wins.

Last year’s Rookie of the Year, Sam Bradford, is my #15 quarterback.  Last season, he had a record setting season, even without a true #1 receiver.  Every one was pleading St. Louis to draft a #1, but St. Louis wisely decided not to right away, since they’ll be getting back Mark Clayton and Donnie Avery.  Remember Donnie Avery?  Everyone was saying that he and Bradford would be the next Manning-Harrison?  My hyperbole aside, Clayton and Avery (or Avery and Clayton, not sure who’s where) should make an effective one-two punch for Bradford to make the next step.  Expect people to call Bradford a solid QB1 by the start of next season.

If Jay Cutler can make it through a playoff game without wussing out, he should be fine.

Chicago’s Jay Cutler is 14th on this list, just because it’s kind of hard to put him any higher.  There’s a lot to like with Cutler.  The Mike Martz offense makes Cutler a high risk/high reward play, and last season he performed pretty well.  He has arguably the best receiving running back in the NFL, Matt Forte, and his receiver corps is fun to watch (if a little raw).  However, he does have a history of concussions, and he could leave the game for extended periods of time.  He doesn’t have a true, bonafide #1 receiver, and his playoff experience is minimal and filled with controversy.  I think that the best fantasy situation that the “Diabetic Deep-threat” could fall into would be if he was paired up with a low-end QB1, like Josh Freeman, Ben Roethlisberger, or Matt Schaub, to make a solid QB tandem.

I really want to like Joe Flacco more than I do.  He’s a pure winner, with a great team, and a receiver corps filled with big names.  But, the Ravens win their games with their defense and running game, and the big names on this team are mostly veterans like Derrick Mason and Todd Heap, who likely don’t have many years left in their careers.  Luckily, they did address this in the draft by picking up Torrey Smith, and he’ll likely be their #2 or slot receiver early in the season.  Plus, Ray Rice is one of the best pass catchers in the NFL.  I would say that if you miss out on the first few groups of quarterbacks, you could do a lot worse than Joe Cool.

In the next article, we talk about the quarterbacks who walk the fine line between fantasy starter and fantasy backup.

Permalink Leave a Comment

The NFL Rank ‘Em Up: #20-17 QBs

June 19, 2011 at 6:00 pm (Sports) (, , , , , , )

There’s an old football saying: “If you have two quarterbacks, you have no quarterbacks”.  This means that if you have two start-worthy quarterbacks, the one who’s sitting will feel like they should be starting, and the one who’s starting will feel some unnecessary pressure from the one who’s sitting, because anytime they screw up, they might get benched.  Generally, a bad situation, all around.  That’s why teams are so willing to trade away good backups, and get something they need out of the deal.  Three quarterbacks on this list are in this kind of scenario.

Tim Tebow is going to fun to watch this season at #20.  The question is: will he be fun to watch because he’ll blossom into a legitimate starter and a fantasy godsend, or because he’ll self-destruct like an overenthusiastic Voltorb?  (That’s a Pokemon reference, for those wondering.)  I’m leaning more toward the former, simply because at the end of last season, in the few games he started, he had more good plays than bad.  I don’t think he’ll have the same ridiculous stats that the last guy who started for the Broncos had, and I don’t think he’ll keep Brandon Lloyd or any other receiver on the roster in the elite receiver class.  But, I think that by the end of the season, Tebow will be the best scrambling quarterback in the NFL.  Better than Vick (injury risk), better than Vince (overrated), better than all of them.

Here's Kyle Orton, who can do nothing but watch as Tim Tebow took the job that he totally earned.

Speaking of the Denver quarterback before Tebow, let’s talk about Kyle Orton at #19.  First, let me just give a quick “screw you” to Josh McDaniels, former coach of the Denver Broncos.  Because, I firmly believe that if he would’ve let Orton finish the season, he would’ve thrown for over 5,000 yards, and I might’ve won my fantasy football league last season, instead of finishing 3rd.  (No, I’m not bitter, why do you ask?)  Besides, it’s not like Orton was the problem, if he was, he wouldn’t have single-handedly turned Brandon Lloyd into the NFL version of Kevin Harvick (Mr. Where-Did-He-Come-From).  I guess what I’m trying to say is:  Orton isn’t going to be a Bronco at the start of the season, but he’ll give results to whatever team he joins.  It’s just a shame he couldn’t do that sort of thing to the Bears when he was with them.

Matt Cassel, my #18 quarterback, was a pretty decent surprise last season.  At the start of last season, I would’ve put him down for maybe 2,300 yards, 15 touchdowns, and 20 interceptions.  I didn’t have a lot of faith in the Chiefs, but then again, no one really did.  Instead, he surprised everyone with 3,100 yards, 27 touchdowns, and only seven interceptions.  He resurrected the career of Dwayne Bowe, and made Tony Maoeki into a small sleeper hit.  He’ll have a secondary target at wide receiver in Jon Baldwin, so Cassel might make for a decent QB2.

Why the Eagles are getting rid of their younger, less injury-prone quarterback I will never know.

Kevin Kolb.  The most popular quarterback on the market today, and the #17 QB on this list.  Ranking him is really difficult, because depending on where he lands, he could jump up the list (if he goes to Arizona or Miami) or he could plummet (if he goes to Seattle or Washington).  So far, the most likely candidate is the Cardinals, because the running game is getting stronger, and Larry Fitzgerald was good enough last year to make John Skelton serviceable.  Imagine what he can do with a good quarterback like Kolb.  Actually, you don’t have to imagine.  Just look back at his seasons with Kurt Warner, and that’s about what Kolb will be working with.  OK, so Kolb isn’t Kurt, but still I’d take Kolb over any quarterback on the Cards’ roster ten times out of ten.

In the next article, we’ll have four quarterbacks that have the sleeper label slapped on him.

Permalink Leave a Comment

The NFL Rank ‘Em Up: #24-21 QBs

June 17, 2011 at 6:00 pm (Sports) (, , , , , , )

When a quarterback (or any player for that matter) comes out of nowhere and starts playing the best ball of his life, it’s an extremely gratifying feeling.  Especially if that guy was on your team before the big turnaround.  This sort of thing happened last year when I correctly predicted that Arian Foster, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, and LeGarrette Blount would all be huge, and I had all of them (one on three different teams).  One quarterback on this list made that jump last season.

Last year, Carson Palmer, my #24 quarterback, was the king of garbage time.  Some of his best games were in losing efforts.  Like in Week 4, when he went for 371 yards and had a passer rating of 121.4, but still lost to Cleveland.  Or in Week 7, when he threw for a season high 412 yards and an-almost season high three touchdowns in a loss to Atlanta.  If he can find a team that will employ him other than the Bengals, he may not lead them to wins, but he’ll light up the air.

At #23, we have David Garrard.  I actually feel a little bad for David Garrard.  He’s been a perfectly good quarterback for the majority of his career, but with Blaine Gabbert on the roster, the pressure has got to be on for Garrard.  However, I think that unless the Jags start to get really desperate to sell tickets, Garrard will be the starter for the entire season.  At least, that would be the smart approach.  Like I said in the Gabbert piece, the only reasons Blaine Gabbert should start this season would be if either Garrard gets injured, or Garrard plays the worst football of his life.

It’s too bad that most fantasy football leagues don’t award points for wins, because if they did, Mark Sanchez wouldn’t be 22nd.  He would probably be in the top 10, and maybe higher.  Half the time, it seems like the Jets win in spite of him, rather than because of him.  I’m not saying the Sanchez is a bust or anything like that.  But I think that this is going to be a make-or-break season for the Sanchise.  Yes, the Jets rely on an extremely conservative offense, but that may be because the Jets don’t want to rely of Sanchez.  If he continues to stagnate the way he has, the Jets will need to take a good long look at whether or not Sanchez is actually the quarterback of the future for the Jets.

Who saw Ryan Fitzpatrick coming?  Seriously, the first time I saw him in his rookie season for the Rams, he was one of the worst quarterbacks I’d ever seen.  And when he joined the Bills in ’09, I though their idea was that they were going to combine him, Trent Edwards and Brian Brohm into one halfway decent quarterback.  Then, after Trent Edwards failed to live up to the Bills’ meager quarterback expectations, Fitzpatrick came in, and all of a sudden, it just clicked.  And it really shouldn’t have, since they lost #2 receiver Roscoe Parrish.  But a revival of Lee Evans and the unexpected breakout of Stevie Johnson made the Harvard grad a star in the making.  He’s easily the best quarterback the Bills have had since Drew Bledsoe, and the first true long-term solution at quarterback since Jim Kelly left.  So, why is he only #21?  Well, he does tend to take games off, but as long as he keeps the Bills competitive enough for their defense to win some games, the Bills will be OK with him.

In the next article, we have two quarterbacks who are on the same team.  For now…

Permalink Leave a Comment

The NFL Rank ‘Em Up: #28-25 QBs

June 14, 2011 at 6:00 pm (Sports) (, , , , , )

Some quarterbacks just don’t when to pack it in (I’m looking at you, old man Favre).  They have a great career, people love then.  But then, in the latter part of their career, they think that they can still play just because they could play awesomely five years ago, despite the fact that they’re facing people who are younger, faster, stronger, and meaner.  That applies big time for one of the names in this article.

At #28, Jason Campbell is a guy who I keep thinking will break out every year, but he does nothing but disappoint.  He’s a lot like Nicolas Cage, he’s either a star, or sucking hard, no middle ground.  He could be leading Oakland to a 59-14 win on one day, and then he could be getting outplayed by backup QB Bruce Gradkowski on the next.  I just don’t think that Oakland has done enough to its offense to think that Campbell will all of a sudden become a top-tier quarterback.  So, unless Louis Murphy or Darrius Heyward-Bey can become a star this year, Campbell will be relegated to the “meh” category.

In this shot, we have Andy Dalton wearing his Bengals helmet. Wait a minute...

I’m a huge fan of Andy Dalton, but I’m still a bit reluctant to put him higher than 27th.  He was a winner at TCU, but can he win in the pros?  I think it might be difficult to win right out of the gate, especially if they lose Chad Johnson (he’s changing his name back).  But, last year Carson Palmer was the garbage time king.  So, maybe if the Bengals fall behind, Dalton might be able to put together some Palmer-like garbage time numbers. Plus, the presence of A.J. Green probably won’t hurt him.

If Chad Henne was on the cover of Madden 11, it would've sold maybe 10 copies.

I was kind of surprised when Miami didn’t draft a quarterback, because Chad Henne isn’t the answer, thus why he’s at #26.  He’s just so bland and cookie-cutter.  He’s only had one 350+ yard game in his entire career.  He just hasn’t had his “breakout” game yet, but after three years of this, I’m starting to wonder if that game will ever come.  And if he doesn’t break out this season, you can bet that Miami will look for a replacement.  Heck, Miami still might pursue one of the free agent quarterbacks this offseason.  I just don’t know how long Miami is willing to put up with his blandness.

When you see Donovan McNabb at #25, it’s kind of sad.  Especially considering that, two years ago, he was a top seven or eight quarterback.  But, years of injuries have finally caught up to McNabb.  His scrambling is nonexistant, he throws erratically, and he had easily his worst season where he was healthy enough to play in all of the games.  Mike Shanahan isn’t stupid, if he honestly thinks that Rex Grossman gives the Redskins a better chance to win, one of two things is going on.  Either Shanahan has an agenda against McNabb (doubtful, that’s Albert Haynesworth’s job), or McNabb is done.  Seriously, Donovan.  If you’re reading this (again, kind of doubt it), do yourself a favor, and retire.  You already have a Hall of Fame resume.  If coaches are trying to decide between you, Grossman, and John Beck, it’s over.  We’ll miss you, McNabb.

In the next part, we’ll have two quarterbacks who might be replaced soon, and two young up-and-comers with a lot of potential, that are essentially polar opposites of one another.

Permalink Leave a Comment

The NFL Rank ‘Em Up: #32-29 QBs

June 12, 2011 at 6:00 pm (Sports) (, , , , , )

For my next trick, I’m going to try rank all of the offensive skill position players in the NFL.  This whole thing is based on the assumption that the NFL season will start up at some point before the second coming of Christ.  For the first one of these articles, we’re going to talk quarterbacks and since these rankings are going from bad to good, we’re starting with the worst of the worst, or at least the ones who haven’t had a chance to prove otherwise.

Without a wide receiver that can stay out of jail, Jake Locker will be hard press to not suck this season.

At the bottom of my list, occupying the #32 spot is Tennessee’s Jake Locker.  But, wait, I can already hear you say, “Jake Locker was your Rookie of the Year in literally the last article you wrote.  Why is he the cellar dweller here?  This was before Locker’s best receiver, Kenny Britt, decided to reenact his favorite scene from “World’s Wildest Police Videos”, and while he’s just barely famous enough to get off scott-free, this will probably be a distraction for the entire season, and besides, other than Britt, who is Locker going to throw the ball to?  Nate Washington?  Justin Gage?  Bo Scaife?  Sounds like things won’t end well for the former U of Washington alum.

Next on the list is Carolina’s Cam Newton.  It’s not a good sign when the #1 overall pick can’t even crack the top 30 quarterbacks.  Yes, he can get things done on his own.  But, unless he wants to meet an early retirement at age 24, he won’t run around as much as he did in his Auburn days.  There is only one person on the entire Carolina roster that I would even give the time of day to in the first one hundred picks, and that’s Jonathan Stewart.  Cam has nothing at wide receiver and I think his biggest receiver this season will be Jeremy Shockey.  Can’t see a lot coming from Newton, not until he gets a little bit of help.

Cracking the top 30 is Jacksonville QB Blaine Gabbert.  This is a risky pick, because there is a pretty good chance that Gabbert won’t start at all this season.  Unless something catastrophic happens to David Garrard, injury or suckage,  Gabbert will be wearing the headset this season.  But, if something does happen to the poster boy for Crohn’s disease, Gabbert could slip in, and put together some solid performances.  But, for right now, I think he’ll take the Aaron Rodgers approach, and wait his turn.

Colt McCoy has a similar problem to Jake Locker. The difference is McCoy doesn't have a good receiver, period.

The last quarterback in this article is Cleveland’s Colt McCoy, taking the 29 spot.  The Browns are getting better, but there not there yet, not even close.  There’s no receiver on the roster that I’d even want as a #2, if I were putting a team together from scratch.  Mohamed Massaquoi, Josh Cribbs (aka James Harrison victims #297 and 298), Brian Robiskie, Benjamin Watson, and the newly drafted Greg Little will fight for receptions.  Normally, this is the part where I’d make some sarcastic remark about how I could be the leading receiver for the Browns, but I’m not gonna lie.  This looks pretty damn grim.  Good luck Coltan, you’ll need it.

Well, that went pretty well.  This could be one of my better series.  Next time, we talk about three QBs that are running on empty, and one of my favorite rookies.

Permalink Leave a Comment